Lessons From LeSean


This one’s for LeSean.

Dreads past his shoulders. A huge grin displaying a large set of teeth going in every direction. A dedicated newspaper reader, who passed the practice on to me. A man who knew and understood his demons, but who had to face them alone.

Here’s the story he told me.

As a teenager in the inner city LeSean got into some sort of trouble with the law, I think it had to do with a gang. He was given two options; go to prison for two years or find someone out in the country with whom he could spend that time. LeSean managed to contact a farmer in Wisconsin who offered him a place to stay.

When he came back LeSean studied cabinetry at a technical school.

What sticks in my mind the most is what he told me about his two boys. The boys lived with their mother, and LeSean wasn’t able to see them every day, but his deep care for them was evident in his voice whenever he spoke of them.

He told me that one of the main reasons he wanted to become a cabinet maker was so that he would have a trade he could teach his kids.

He would have been a good cabinet maker, his eye for detail was second to none and his energy was boundless. Unfortunately I don’t know where he is, or if he will ever be able to accomplish his dreams. I don’t speak for obstacles, but I know that the ones he faced were huge.

I pray he’s able to become the person he wanted to be, and I pray he can pass that on to his sons. I haven’t had to face all of the obstacles LeSean has, largely because I was taught some of the things that he wants to pass down.

Our world was built on craftsmanship and knowledge handed down from generation to generation. Somehow we have almost abolished this passing down of knowledge. We work in jobs which require little creative input and denigrate those who work with their hands. Knowledge is replaced with facts. We openly, and invitingly, discuss the fact that the future economy will be based on technology and service, effectively removing the physical creation of goods from relevance.

It’s said that in the dark ages it was Irish monks who kept civilization alive. Today our civilization is preserved in the garages and kitchens of America.

When LeSean was a kid I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a garage.


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